Alaskan author Kim Heacox spoke last night in the season’s final “Wildlife Wednesday,” a multi-agency lecture series sponsored in part by Conoco Phillips. Hailing from Gustavus, population 440 or so, Heacox is one of Alaska’s most notable nature writer/photographers. His books include The Only Kayak and In Denali.

Personable and sincere, Heacox read, with commentary, from his essay “Thirsty in the Rain: Reflections on Restlessness.” He spoke with genuine love of Gustavus, a place where “green is more than a color – it’s a texture,” a place that’s “the perfect mix of imperfections.”

Where he lives, Heacox says, “Nature isn’t just another channel on the TV. If you’re not smart, it will kill you – and we like it that way.” It’s an attitude that comes off as arrogance when some folks hop on their homespun soapboxes and rail about Outsiders who should have known better.

Heacox turns it full circle, making us wonder about ourselves. A weird, sick part of us does like it that way. Or maybe it’s not so weird. It’s how we channel our restless spirits to Nature, who isn’t so sure she wants to make friends.

“Alaska’s still a frontier,” Heacox says. “As such, it’s transformative.” If we allow it, and sometimes when we don’t. Mostly when we stay thirsty, even in the rain.

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